The Explore team visits Tibet, located in the center of Asia high in the Himalayas, and home to nearly 6 million Tibetans and an estimated 7.5 million Chinese. In the capital city of Lhasa the team tours the Potala Palace, the traditional winter home of the Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama. The Potala is considered the greatest achievement of Tibetan architecture. Originally built in the 7th century by King Songtsen Gampo for his bride, the Palace was partially destroyed by lightning, but restored and extended in 1645 by the Fifth Dalai Lama. (The 14th Dalai Lama currently lives in exile in Dharamsala, India.)
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The Explore team film as pilgrims crowd outside the Jokhang Temple in the heart of old Lhasa, chanting the Buddhist mantra "om-mani-padme-hum," or "Hail to the flower of the lotus." Outside the temple, hundreds more circle, pausing to spin one of the scores of cylindrical prayer wheels that encompass the temple. A good Buddhist will circle the temple 108 times - always clockwise - during a pilgrimage.
Explore also tours one of the largest Tibetan monasteries, Sera, meaning "Wild Rose Garden." Famous for their Tantric studies, the Sera monks congregate every afternoon in the Debating Garden. Gathering himself like a baseball pitcher winding up, a crimson-robed monk draws his hands back and yells a question at another monk, punctuating his point with a flesh-reddening clap of his palms.
Across the city, the Explore team visits the World Wildlife Foundation, which is working to establish sustainable development practices to protect the Tibetan Plateau, the highest and largest plateau on earth. The region shelters many unique species including: the Tibetan antelope, Tibetan gazelle, wild yak, blue sheep, snow leopard, brown bear, Bengal tiger, and black-necked crane.